Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The One in Yellowstone

Like I mentioned before...Ben and I had our Numero Uno Anniversary on the 8th. For about a month we were trying to figure out what to do to celebrate and we seriously went through the most ginormous list of possibilities. Our car was broken (it's fixed now! and for much cheaper than originally thought:) so we weren't sure if we'd have a vehicle. We also weren't sure how much it was going to cost to fix the car, so we didn't want to spend too much money.

We finally settled on just hanging out in the Rexburg area, going swimming and getting dinner, you know, just relaxing.

But Ben is very spontaneous and after I went on my run that morning, Ben said, "Let's go to Yellowstone instead."

So we went! I'm not very good at being spontaneous, so this was good practice. We packed up some snacks, put on our hiking shoes and were out the door, on our way to Yellowstone.

I had never been to Yellowstone before. I know, I know, it's a shame! But we loved it and had a blast! And, seeing as how the entrance is only an hour and half from our house, we bought an annual know, if anyone wants to come visit...(hint.hint.nudge.nudge).

Anyhow, here are some pictures from our awesome adventure:
There were buffalo EVERYWHERE. It was so cool.
And Ben kept saying, "Look at me! I'm a buffalo in
Yellowstone!" And it was hilarious...but maybe you had to be there.
So pretty! (The landscape, not us...). And this was just by the side of the road!

These are the Paint Pots.

It's ol' Fayful!
Yes, it kept reminding me of Dennis the Menace.

It was pretty windy, and when Old Faithful got going, we were
sitting right in the we got pretty wet. No wonder no one was sitting there...

I can't remember the name of this one, but the steam was incredible.

These were our favorites. It's so crazy to me that these colors are
just rockin around in nature. The picture doesn't give it justice-
It was very orange-y and blue-y. Very pretty.
And very steamy.

You can see the color better in this picture...but not as good as being there.
We loved it. It turned out to be an rockin' day trip and we can't wait to go back sometime!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Three Quick Tips for Having a Successful Ragnar Experience (plus a packing list!)

Holy moly, Ragnar is THIS WEEK, my friends! Can you believe it? It's kind of blowing my mind, but I'm way stoked and I really hope everyone else is too.

So...I have a confession. I gave you all that training schedule and told you that it was soooo important to stick to it and I said that if you trained right, you would have a good race.

Remember that?

Well...that's only half true. Good training IS way important, but running smart on race day is absolutely crucial. I've seen amazing runners die on Ragnar (...not literally) because they didn't know how to run the race. Honestly, it's kind of a weird race, with the running and the sitting and the sleeping and the get the picture.

So here are my Three Quick Tips for Having a Successful Ragnar Experience (plus a packing list!):

#1: Hydrate or Die
Drink! Drink lots! I'm willing to bet that the number 1 problem the Ragnar First Aid team deals with is dehydration. So don't be that guy!

And don't just wait until race day. Starting on Wednesday this week, really focus on making sure your body is completely hydrated. If you're not sure what's enough, refer to the pee chart below:
Haha...that chart always makes me laugh...Anyhow, we're getting a little personal, but your pee should be the color of the overly-hydrated spectator for a couple days before the race. But don't stop drinking once you start running your legs. After each leg, remember to slowly replenish your fluids. To be most efficient (and to avoid an over-active bladder), remember that your body can only retain 8 ounces of fluid for every 15 minutes. So don't chug a Gatorade immediately after your first leg and then call it good.

Another thing: just water won't work. Your body needs electrolytes, so pack a Gatorade, PowerAde, Propel...whatever your flavor, and drink that in addition to water.

It's especially important to stay hydrated for your during-the-day legs. It's going to get hot and you'll need a well-hydrated body to get you through.
Now there's a well hydrated runner!

And I'm just going to say for fear that someone thinks they can quit focusing so much on liquids once they cross the finish diligent about drinking for a few days after the race. Nobody wants you passing out a day or two later ( happened to Kyle, so it could happen to any of you...).

#2: Eat!!
It sounds like a silly thing to give as a tip...but people just don't know how to handle this when they're going to be running soonish.

Take this guy for example:
I'm talking about person #2. He was in awesome shape, super good runner. This is his last leg AND the leg that's finishing our race. He was dying. We all jumped out to run the last 2 miles with him because we honestly didn't think he was going to finish. Later he told us that he didn't want to eat anything during the race because he would be running kind of soon and didn't want a side stitch.

It's a legitimate concern.

Or you can ask Matt Bonner about how he took advantage of the all-you-can-eat pasta bar at exchange #6 and felt like junk the rest of the race.

It really is hard finding the line between too much food and too little food. Plus you have to think about the fact that your legs could be anywhere from 3-6 hours apart. It can get tricky.

Here's what I do. I eat a substantial amount of food right after I run (Perk: your body actually retains more nutrients if you eat within 60 minutes of exercising). During Ragnar, I never let myself get completely full. I'll snack if I'm feeling hungry or if I still have plenty of time before my next run. But I like to stop eating completely when I know I have about 2 (or a little more) hours before I have to lace up my shoes again.

What should you eat? When your body is most healthy, it will crave the things you need the most. So think back to some of your most intense exercises. What did you crave afterward? Honestly, I'm usually craving a Jamba Juice or a banana with some peanut butter. Here's a list of food I like to take with me for Ragnar:
  • bananas
  • grapes
  • oranges or orange juice
  • crackers
  • pretzels
  • peanut butter
  • Power Bars/Gu/Honey Stingers/Sport Beans
  • chocolate milk (actually one of the best things you can consume after a workout)
  • string cheese
Hopefully that gives you a good idea of some stuff to bring.

#3: Have Fun
Just expect the worst...and decide to have fun anyway. I promise you will be sore and tired and maybe a little grumpy, but just remember that you're doing this to have a good time. I guarantee we won't win (the BYU cross country team will--they are fast!), so you don't have to worry about that.

One time I was on a team with a bunch of women and one lady set the tone by telling everyone, "Do NOT cheer for me. I hate it when people cheer for me." So we didn't cheer for her. But we didn't really cheer for anyone on our team. It turned out to be quite lame.

A different year, one girl on my team bought a coconut and dubbed it the Coconut of Healing Power. Someone would shove it out the window to our runner, who would rub it or kiss it or whatever. Weird? Yes! But also hilarious and awesome.
 No, you don't have to buy a coconut for a successful Ragnar, but have fun and be positive.

Okay. Those are your tips. And just in case, I'm going to write down a list of things you might want to remember to bring (like, things you might not think of. You all better remember your running shoes and some extra socks, even though they're NOT on the list):
  • sleeping bag and pillow (for some reason, I always think I can go without the pillow. It never ends well)
  • a tarp (in case your only option for sleeping is the grass...and the only option for grass is the wet grass)
  • earplugs (it's very hard to fall asleep in an echo-y gym that's filled with restless runners. Just make sure that someone in your group will be able to wake up before you're supposed to be up and running again)
  • Extra water bottles/Gatorade
  • Layers! (it gets cold at 2am in the Utah mountains! Take winter gear--mittens and hat included. You'd rather be safe than sorry)
  • A headlamp/flashlight
  • Reflective gear (everyone on the team needs a reflective vest. Ragnar rules)
Reflective gear is very attractive.

That's everything I can think of. Good luck this week! Have fun! And remember to stretch before and after each run!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The One Year

Just had to give a shout out to the fact that Ben and I have now officially been married for 1 year (plus a day if you're gonna get technical).

Crazy, right?

We decided that in some ways it seems like we've been married for sooooo much longer than that, and in other ways it seems like we tied the knot no more than a few weeks ago.

But my gosh,
What an adventure.

I am super crazy lucky to have Ben in my life and here are some of the reasons why.

First, I have to admit that I owe him BIG time because he was the one who absolutely insisted that I read Harry Potter. He was aghast when he found out I had never read the books, and even went so far as to accuse me of hating reading! Let's be real, people: Harry Potter is probably one of the best stories ever written. I never would have known what I was missing out on, but I'm so glad I'm no longer one of those lame-os who never let Harry Potter change their life.
His love for Harry Potter has been a long-
term sort of commitment.
Ben teaches me things that I need to know. This one time, I found these boots that I completely fell in love with. They were super cute, but they were more spendy that I would normally consider. So buying them, in my opinion, was clearly out of the question. But Ben patiently and logically explained that a)We were in a position where we could definitely afford to buy them b)I had been working hard and earning good money and c)I was worth the boots. It seems silly and simple, but I learned so much from that little experience.

And when I wasn't getting as many compliments as I wanted from those super cute boots? Ben stepped in with, "Oh wow, look at those boots! Those are so cute! You obviously have really great taste." He has he knows the drill.

Ben is crazy adventurous. Like the China thing? Yeah, NEVER would do that on my own.
This is us adventuring.
Another cool thing about Ben is he knows a bit about everything. When we first started dating, Ben told me two very important things:
1. That he wasn't a fan of watching sports and
2. That he didn't like video games and would never own a gaming console.
Seriously, what a blessing! So I'm always in shock when Ben has a conversation with one of those hardcore jock types. Despite the fact that I have only ever seen Ben actually sit down to watch a game once, he can totally talk to these jock types like he knows the ins and outs of the sport like the back of his hand. He knows teams, players, and info on specific games. I don't know how he does it, but somehow he knows his "guy stuff" including all major sports and manly shenanigans.

Ben makes me laugh. Like, more than is justifiable. Here's an example:
Now, normally I wouldn't post such hideous pictures of myself, but I had to prove a point. That guy can get me to laugh my head off with some of the lamest jokes.

I could go on and on about my good fortune in the husband department (i.e. his ability to grow a very manly beard, his good cooking/eating skills, his guitar playing finesse) but I'll just include one more fact: Ben kills snakes.
My mother-in-law's porch is infested with snakes and it is both terrifying and disgusting. Yeah, they're garter snakes, but if you know me, you know it doesn't matter the kind or size. All snakes are awful (which is an understatement). So Ben took a machete and started chopping heads off. I'm being completely serious. He chopped 8 heads in less than 10 minutes. Hero status? Definitely. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo, I was safely inside the house while I took this picture.

Anyhow, it's been an awesome year, full of lessons and adventures. I'm lucky to have such an amazing guy at my side and I am stoked to see what the future holds!